I Am Sharing My Writing With You at Last!
Today I am challenging myself. I am going to share a short story that I wrote last year with you, called Younger.
You may wonder why I haven’t shared anything before. Why haven’t I shown off my writing chops?
In part, it’s down to not publishing works via my blog that I’ve previously entered in writing competitions due to the rules. I didn’t win but it was good practise.
I am also reticent to put my writing all over my blog as there are some thieving toerags out there. Sad story but I’ve heard many a writer state their work has been pilfered from the interwebs. I’m not saying mine is up to ‘being nicked’ standard and I do understand how copyright works but these gits don’t. Or they do but don’t care.
Lastly, it’s about confidence, or lack of it.
I’m trying to start writing fiction again after battling crappy depression. I’ll be honest and say there’s a barrier. I’m really struggling. Therefore I’m challenging myself to look over past writing so I can see that I can do it and I will be able to do it again.
I’m also sharing this to give me a nudge out of my perverse ‘comfort’ zone of not writing because I’m scared to. I’m really nervous about sharing this.
My Short Story: Younger
This piece is called Younger. I wrote it early last year when I’d just started writing so please go easy on me in the comments. It’s somewhat of an epistle in that it’s written in letter form. I like to see it as a short story though as it tells a story within the letter.
I acknowledge that it’s may be what some call ‘wordy’ in places but my intention was that it was written by a ‘wordy’ woman. We’ll see if it works for you.
My writing pieces are a marvellous mix of the more wordy (I like to call it literary) and the more basic, everyday type of language. I won’t apologise for being ‘wordy’. I know some hate it but it has its place. I also think ‘wordy’ is seen as a negative thing but it doesn’t always have to be.
I can also write funnier pieces than this!
I also concede that it’s not a work of brilliance but I’m fond of it. I have treasured memories of writing it and sharing it with a trusted few for the first time. I think I did my best with it at the time.
Now, with my mum’s terminal illness, it has taken on a whole new meaning: A Letter to My Loved One’s Terminal Cancer
Comments welcome. Please go easy on me please. I’m pretty fragile about this writing business at the moment. I know a writer should take criticism on the chin and have a thick skin. I will work on it. I just don’t have it right now. I’ve been away from it a long time, I’m in recovery and I’m sorry that I’m not the force for writing I wish I was.
One day eh?
Dear 13 Year-Old Self,
From here I will call you, ‘Younger’, for brevity and familiarity. Go look the words up if you need to. I know you’re a curious and smart youngster. You created an inquiring adult, after all. Neither of us fears words. Here are some more, for you.
Doc Brown is currently unable to loan us his DeLorean, therefore a letter from Older to Younger it must be. If the recipient cares to remember them, words and advice can endure for all time. I hope, somehow, that mine span the decades and find their way to you.
Of all the Youngers who have formulated my life, I choose to write to you. You had the most fun, endured hurts, and dallied with joy. In the short space of a year, life has bestowed you profound lessons that Older came to foolishly neglect. The ‘order of things’ dictates that ‘Elders’, as we will now refer to those beyond Young, must develop partial amnesia of their Youngers’ lives. Finally railing against this, I choose to stand still, for a while, with you.
You are seemingly rooted, surveying the world from the highest vantage point the Elders will permit you to reach. Endless roads of infinite possibilities span from the focus point of you. You are trapped in a vortex of multiple possibilities, crowded by endless choices. I see you battling with the doomed aspect of the teenager. It whispers that with every choice made, the world will conspire against you.
Do not lose your child-like, not childish, hope. You want to catapult into adulthood, but I urge you to linger a little longer where you are. This is the point and place where anything could happen. You are never too young or old to dare to dream. I forfeited some dreams along the way. I apologise, Younger, for wrecking the formation of your hopes. I judged a selection of your dreams as folly. To my credit, I saw others through, and with style. You will see.
Never gamble with dreams. It is ignorance to command them to exit, demanding that they find you when you are prepared for their return. Dreams function according to their own timetable, not ours. If you are not ready to grasp them, lock them away in a safe place. One day, when the key miraculously appears, you will be thankful that you did.
I know that you are afraid, Younger. What if you were to make the wrong turn from the place where you reside? I could offer false comfort that every misstep is inconsequential. If I did, in time you will catch up with your Older and rightfully call her out as a liar.
However, do not allow the fear of making mistakes render you fearful. Remaining static will not protect you from life. Trust each direction you choose as the wisest path for that moment. Sometimes it will be. Occasionally it will not. At times, it will matter. Often it will bear no consequence. Just know that you have to keep moving, choosing and trying.
Seek out the guidance of Elders. Many have walked your adopted routes and can impart advice. Choose your advising Elders with care. Not all will make sense, or be invested in the outcome. Age does not always necessarily equate with wisdom. Do not mistake those that bore you with endless statements of once being in your place, as worthless. Their value is found in how they negotiated the selected option. If you trust no other Elder, choose now to have faith in your Older. I, most assuredly, have our best interests in mind.
Enjoy both your shrewd choices and even some of your glaring mistakes. Errors you make, such as your first kiss, presently feel like they have halted your existence. I remember how the notion of facing the boy in question, after the whole debacle, fills you with horror. I promise that in time you will laugh (yes, really) and share the story with other Elders. You will recount the near-choking of the surprise literal slip of his tongue. You will laugh at the lengths you adopted to avoid him.
Years later, you will recount this story with him, at a school reunion. You will learn that he was similarly hiding in shame, humiliated at his participation in the less-than-perfect first kiss. He knew no more than you.
Younger, don’t waste time trying to get everything right. Who dictates what is ‘right’ anyway, unless it’s a written test? Even then, a disastrous grade is not an absolute indicator of exclusion from future excellence. Many of life’s fun and thrills are to be found in making attempts, uncertain of their outcome. We may never have been, or will be, accomplished risk-takers, but as you become better acquainted with Older, you will learn that pursuing a long-shot can most assuredly pay off.
Here’s some additional hope for you; there will be more kissing. Not with him, but it will happen. You’re going to love it and get it right, over and over again. For now, lay off it and wait a little while. There is time.
Congratulations on receiving a school certificate for your story. I can visualise you now, playing it cool and asserting to all that it is no big deal. I know the truth. We hold the same ambition, Younger. You can’t fool me. We both covet a hidden purpose to write. We share the desire to release our imaginations upon paper.
You have hidden that certificate away in a drawer. It was just a silly story; a sheer fluke. Well, let’s just wait and see what happens to what is caged in darkness. It will remain in that drawer for years; ostensibly forgotten.
Younger, the source that smoulders longest isn’t necessarily the one that burns most brightly. You will feel the heat of that story over time, even though it currently leaves you cold. Over the years, that story’s flames will ignite and flicker around you. Keep your eye on those flames and see if you can create a fire.
I won’t tell you how this one transpires because this is a process you must experience for yourself. Every part of it leads to where Older now stands. You must experience every dizzying high and crushing low. I will, however, let you into a little secret; it was all so very worth it.
Younger, understand that support networks are your foundation. Value the friends you make. Recognise that there are degrees of friends, varying from the acquaintance to the steadfast. Learn the difference when you direct your trust and heart. The most ‘fair weather’ of friends can occasionally be the most encouraging. On occasion, those in which you are the most invested will stamp on your heart because they know they have it. Choose friends wisely. Never forget that they are human.
The heartache of an apparent best friend who outgrew you will decrease. I know that grief hammers at you with every photo and memento reflected upon, in the security of your room. I am there with you, Younger, as you weep over your loss. I wish I could wipe away your tears. I fight the impulse to seek Elders to offer you comfort. The benefit of experience must overrule my selfish urges. Only you and I are capable of facilitating our healing.
Remain observant of others. There is a 13 year-old waiting in the wings to claim the precious role of best friend. She will know you like no other. She will witness your hurts, foibles and faults. She will never judge you for them. Together you will create milestones, until the day she grasps the hand of her friend, grieving for Older who is almost over. You are close to finding this girl, this woman, who will alter your landscape. Go create a world with her.
You have endured two painful years since your mother has gone. I understand the affliction of monumental events, tainted by her absence. She is the Elder that you need more than any other.
The agony of mourning subsides, but she will remain your cherished Elder, even when Younger becomes Older. Days will pass without her as your first thought. Surprise and guilt will slay you when she is temporarily forgotten.
There will be a walk, along a familiar footpath, to seek out the first bluebells. As you spot the coveted prize, you turn to witness delight. She would rejoice in her beloved flowers toppling winter’s reign. Her absence will render you incapable of movement. The air becomes thin. You are already learning this, aren’t you Younger? I can visualise the bluebells resting against the headstone as I write.
Elders eventually leave. It is a harsh truth. Until we are on the cusp of no longer being Elder, we never truly believe that we can be anything other. Younger, there will be additional losses to those you have already endured. Life dictates this is how it must be. Life dictates that the loss of your Older is one for which we must prepare.
In our separate points in time, we are united in our confusion as to what the next stage entails. I recognise your desire to dwell at your fixed point. If I could, I would choose also to remain. But the cruel ‘order of things’ states that this cannot be. If you don’t move now, I will never have moved. It is such a responsibility to place upon your shoulders, Younger, but you have to choose your course so that I may complete it. I want to do this well, for you.
Thirteen is a bewildering time. You sway upon the precipice of childhood and adulthood. Do you fall backwards in the vain hope of standing still in time, or do you tilt forwards into the unknown?
Don’t tilt, Younger. Push. Push forwards with all the strength I know you have. Acknowledge each of your own Olders, who stretch from you, over the years. Like them. Respect them. Listen to them. Their words will often have a clearer meaning in the future, rather than at the point they were shared. Document all that they give to you. In time, your journals will manifest into love letters from your Olders, sustaining their treasured Youngers.
Thank you thirteen year-old Younger, and the Youngers that followed. You have done us all proud. You stood upon each other’s shoulders. You created a ladder that upholds this current Older. You are the keystone that enables me to make the final leap.
Younger, it is also time for you to press on. Have courage. Jump off the platform. You are well supported. You and I have no business creating fixed points. We may never fully know our destination, but digging our heels into the present, eventually renders it as past. The past is a wonderful place to occasionally visit, but it is sorely lacking as a long stay destination.
Take heart, Younger. I’m also shuffling off to an unknown place. It holds no fear for me because I am bolstered by you. This letter holds my vain hope that, in this world of strange phenomena, my words will catch in the air and filter through years, to you.
If magic is not propelled by loving intentions, and my words never find you, it has not been in vain. There is another thirteen year-old, immovable by her mother’s bedside. Older and her own ‘Young One’ are momentarily suspended, awaiting the inevitable shift.
I take the hand of my thirteen year-old daughter, and into it I place your letter. I know your loving heart willingly shares the words she needs more than we will. We have had our moments in this life. We may not be able to halt time and be rooted. But our words can, and they will.
With love and thanks for all time,
Your very own Older.
©2017 Lisa Sell All Rights Reserved, i.e. no nicking in part, full or anything else of this piece of writing. Thanks muchly.